Holy Grail

CRM systems were thought to be the Holy Grail of business process improvement. For much of an organization, they are a great way to manage all the details for any given customer account. However, ask any sales rep about their customer relationship management (CRM) platform and you’ll likely hear a lot of groaning and complaints.

It’s no secret that many companies struggle with realizing their returns on investment (ROI) in any quantifiable fashion. This often means companies are spending a significant amount of money on CRM solutions that aren’t living up to expectations.

Implementing and using a CRM platform can create quite a divide. Valuable selling time can quickly be eaten up, as sales managers drive their sales teams to keep CRM data entered and up-to-date. The million-dollar question: Why are these CRM platforms falling short of customer expectations?

We’re not asserting that CRM platforms don’t have value – they do – but there is no doubt that companies are missing out on critical opportunities by adhering to a system that requires extra work for the sales team, but yields little actionable value.

For salespeople, any tool or technology is only as valuable as the opportunities it helps them generate and the sales it helps them win. For the majority of the sales industry, CRM platforms have missed the mark.

Most sales teams struggle with CRM platforms in three distinct areas:

  • CRMs don’t capture the whole picture:
    • Like many of us, salespeople think about things visually. They like to conduct business in face-to-face meetings, using presentations and whiteboards to help tell the story. It stands to reason that a visual, easily digestible plan will be more actionable for a salesperson than a list of data, but traditional CRM platforms tend to produce spreadsheets and lists instead of visual maps. For a busy, highly motivated sales rep, time spent doing data entry into a traditional CRM platform that results in a report with the same data spewed back to him, feels like time wasted that they could be using to be selling.
  • The platform doesn’t align with the sales reality:
    • CRM platforms are designed, installed and integrated by IT professionals, and in order to work properly, sales teams need to adapt to the software. As a result, most CRM systems lack intuitive processes, which means sales teams are required to fill out unnecessary forms and spend too much time entering data that doesn’t drive sales value. An effective sales enablement technology needs to have each user seeing and feeling the value of the technology on their sales growth. It’s quite simple – salespeople want tools that help them sell.
  • CRM platforms lack a forward-looking view
    • Traditional CRM platforms provide a backward-looking view of sales and customer activity. This is effective for sales management and reporting, but ineffective for improving sales performance and predicting future sales. Salespeople need a forward-looking view into how well they’re executing their strategies and plans, both for new prospects and growing existing accounts. Looking at what happened last month or year isn’t going to bring in new sales – seeing where the opportunities lie and taking action accordingly will.

To get the most out of any sales enablement technology, a sales rep needs to clearly understand how the process of inputting data will lead to progress toward his or her sales quota.

Want proof? Read how five top-tier companies are using Revegy to complement their existing CRM platform.

Mark Kopcha

Today’s post is by guest-author, Mark Kopcha, Founder & CEO of Revegy, which provides sales effectiveness solutions to win more deals and increase the revenue from your current customers with Playbooks and Account, Channel, Opportunity, and Territory Planning.